How COVID-19 affected Canada immigration policies in 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is definitely having a serious impact on the Canada immigration system, severely affecting its ability to welcome new permanent residents, work permit holders and study permit holders. Canada had planned to welcome 341000 new immigrants in 2020, a target which it will not be able to meet.

As part of preventing the spread of coronavirus pandemic, Canada has imposed strict border restrictions. So only the following categories of travellers can enter the country:

  • Immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who will be staying in Canada for more than 15 days.
  • Extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents who plan to stay in the country for more than 15 days.
  • Persons travelling to the country for compassionate reasons.PNP Finder

The other categories of foreign nationals who are allowed to travel to the country are certain people already approved for permanent residence, certain temporary foreign workers, certain international students and certain family members of temporary residents.

The travellers coming to the country must quarantine for 14 days. They need to present before the Canada Border Service Agency(CBSA) a viable quarantine plan detailing how they are planning to travel from the airport, where they will stay during the quarantine period and how they will be supplied with necessities such as food.

Canada Permanent Residence

Compared to 2019, there has been a significant drop in the number of permanent residents who arrived in the country this year. The number of permanent residents who came to the country in the first nine months of 2019 was 263,945. But in 2020, the number plummeted to 143,465.

But on the positive side, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is continuing to accept applications for permanent residence. Those applicants who are unable to submit all the required documents owing to COVID-related obstructions are given more time to furnish the same.

Canada Express Entry

Despite the restrictions introduced in response to the global spread of coronavirus pandemic, Canada has been issuing invitations to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry. In terms of the number of Express Entry ITAs issued, 2020 has been a record year. Canada issued more than 92000 ITAs so far.

Provincial Nominee Programs

Most of the provinces have introduced certain measures to help the applicants who are affected by the pandemic. IRCC announced in September that those PNP candidates who lost their employment offers owing to the pandemic have one year to find a new job and still they qualify for Canada immigration. Most of the provinces except Alberta continue to issue Invitations to Apply and provincial nomination on a regular basis.

Future of Canada immigration

Canada has set ambitious immigration targets for the period between 2021 and 2023 to make up for the fall in the number of new immigrants to the country in 2020. However, it is yet to be known when Canada will ease its border restrictions.

But positive news on corona vaccines is giving new hope to prospective immigrants. It is expected that the Canada immigration system would return to normalcy by spring or early summer of 2021. Experts predict that, when it happens, the number of Canada immigrants entering the country would spike quickly as the country implements an immigration-fuelled economic recovery strategy.

Are you planning to move to Canada permanently? If yes, start the preparations right away so  that you would be ready to travel to Canada by the time the country eases the restrictions. For more info, contact CanApprove.

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